This article is a tribute, response, and parody of Eileen Stanley Conway’s It’s Not Because You’re a Mother. She’s a brilliant writer and deserves all credit for the article below.
My day job has become kind of a thing lately. A ‘topic of conversation’ you might say.
Because a lot of my friends, my peers, have quit a 9–5 to pursue their online business ‘full time.’
They’ve made… the leap.
And at times I’m jealous. And if you’re in an honest-sort-of-mood, you are too.
It’ll send you pretty much over the edge, if you let it.
They talk about their struggles and six figure launches as a full time entrepreneur and your brain wants to scream How the hell am I supposed to do that when I have a family and a mortgage and two cars and obligations and my aging parents and… and… and…
I guess I can forget building a business that matters.
Forget ever sipping coffee at a trendy coffee shop whilst I blog away on my Macbook.
I barely have any time to write or create anything to sell. (Does blogging count?)
Instead, every day, I go to work. I forget to brush my teeth. I grade papers. I answer emails. I work after school detention. I drink coffee. I grade more papers. I grade papers about grading papers. I lecture. I teach. I really teach. I use data and intuition to drive what I do. I write referrals. I go to meetings. I go to meetings about meetings. I help with homework. I help with girl problems. I help with boy problems. I shake hands. I drink more coffee. I make up my own handshakes with 14 year olds. I work every day from 3am to 5am to make something happen. I play with my son. I wrestle. I race cars. I wrestle more. I change diapers. I engage in some type of insane nightly ritual which may or may not involve one of us force-dressing the other. I forget to brush my teeth again. In short: I’m a typical father.
I didn’t know how to tell anybody that it was hard and I didn’t have a dad to tell either.
I told my wife how I felt one time (ONE time), and she wasn’t as sympathetic as I thought she’d be. She doesn’t have it easy either. Sure, she doesn’t have to commute, or deal with 14 year olds all day. But she can’t leave and do whatever she wants. She doesn’t get peace and quiet throughout her day unless she goes to war (aka nap time) with my son (aka the purple maniac minion from Despicable Me 2) first. But she doesn’t give up.
The worst part is she’s totally right. She hasn’t allowed being a ‘mom’ as an excuse to not pursue her dreams. But I did.
Why was that?
Fear of failing? Fear of being rejected?
Fear of embarrassing myself in front of my newborn son?
So, dads, here is what I think: we’ve been set up to use our fatherhood and providing for our family as a crutch.
It’s totally accepted by society too — especially for working dads — to feel like going to our 9–5, simply existing (not really living), is noble. We’re taking care of our families, dammit!
It’s easy to read Income Reports and Instagram Posts from our entrepreneur friends and think about how easy they have it, how we’d be doing something like that if we’d chosen our side hustle over our family.
But that’s not true.
We all have our own shit. Every dad out there has to manage their time.
If anything, it’s a reason to do MORE. To show our sons that it’s possible to live the life you want to live and still help them build theirs.
So I’ll write this instead of getting an extra 30 minutes of sleep. Because being a dad doesn’t give me the right to forgo my own dreams.
I can’t tell my son to live his dreams if I don’t live mine. He’ll do what I do, not what I say.
It does, however, give me the right to eat all of the Halloween candy.
Oh, and my newsletter is here – Hustle&Heart Newsletter. It’s where this post was originally published and it’s also the only way to get the Entrepreneur Dad Manifesto. You’d probably like it if you read this far.